Triangle Law Enforcement Reconsidering Used Gun Resale Policy
Posted August 16, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — Durham police are reconsidering a policy that could put the department's old guns in the wrong hands. Right now, the police and sheriff's departments trade in old guns when they get new ones. Those old guns are often resold.
The issue recently got a lot of attention when it was learned that the gun used in the Los Angeles Community Center shooting once belonged to a police department.
Since then, a police chief's association has urged all departments to destroy all used and confiscated weapons.
Many Triangle departments still put guns up for sale. Durham police do not sell confiscated weapons.
"We don't sell our guns. We destroy them," says an evidence technician at theDurham Police Department.
All of their pistol grip shotguns, 9 millimeter automatics, and .25 caliber handguns will be melted down.
Police say the guns were taken from criminals and they do not want them back in the wrong hands. However, Durham does sell used police-issue weapons, handguns and rifles back to gun manufacturers.
"I'm very confident that Durham's policies are stable and that we're not contributing to guns being on the street and the companies that we deal with don't contribute to guns being on the street," says Maj. Dwight Pettiford of the Durham Police Department.
Four years ago, the Durham County Sheriff's Department upgraded to .45 caliber semi-automatic handguns. They traded their old guns in to the manufacturer to help cut costs.
"You can't destroy them," explains Capt. Ricky Buchanan of the Durham County Sheriff's Department. "You buy the weapons with public money and you want to get the best deal you can for the newer weapons that you're having to buy. So you trade your old weapons in for newer ones. You get a better price. It's just like trading cars or horses or anything else."
Like Durham, Durham County says you have nothing to fear from their gun sales.
"People that buy weapons from our manufacturers have to go through the procedure just like anyone else buying legitimately -- necessary paperwork, traces, the whole nine yards," says Buchanan.
Chapel Hill Police say they have not bought new guns for the whole department in ten years so they say it is not really an issue for them.
Carrboro Police say that since they are a small department, they do not sell any guns. They have all of their old police weapons in an evidence room.